Each year people die or get injured because of medical errors. Sometimes these errors happen when the wrong medication is given, or the patient does not know how to take the medication. If you take herbal medications, it is important to tell your doctor. You can help your doctor give you the best care by giving them information and by asking questions. If you do not understand something, it is important to say, "I do not understand - can you explain it in a different way?"

In your MiVIA™ account, you will receive information to help you get good care.

Your Rights
  • You have a right to see your medical information and to look at your medical charts.
  • You can ask for a copy of your medical records from any doctor or clinic.
  • You will have to sign a form to get these records and you may have to pay a small fee to get copies, but you cannot be denied a copy of your medical records.
If You Do Not Have Insurance

If you do not have insurance and you become ill, you can go to a clinic and they will see you at a low cost or sometimes at no cost. This is because most rural and federal clinics receive special funding to treat migrant or agricultural workers.

On your MiVIA™ page you can find a clinic near you by clicking on Find A Clinic. You do not have to show proof of citizenship or residence to go to these clinics. If you are very ill and are having a lot of pain, you can go to an emergency room. Most hospitals have emergency rooms. When you arrive, you will be asked about your condition and your insurance status. If you do not have insurance and you are very ill, they cannot turn you away.

If you do not have insurance and you are not in an emergency situation, it is always best to try to visit a clinic rather than an emergency room, since the cost is much lower. But if you think you are so sick that it is an emergency, then you must go to the emergency room.

If you do not have insurance, there are many programs that might help you. Some of these are Medi-Cal, Medicaid, Emergency Medi-Cal and CMSP. Other special programs may be available to help pay for some or all of your health care.

If You Have Health Insurance

Always carry a copy of your insurance card with you or keep the information in a safe place. You should also put your insurance information on your MiVIA™ card.

Most insurance plans have a co-pay - that means you might have to pay a part of the bill. Always ask for a receipt for any payment you make to the clinic or doctor. Sometimes insurance has a deductible which means that you will have to pay a certain amount before the insurance will pay for the rest of your medical care. The amount of your co-pay and your deductible should be on your insurance card.

Insurance for Children

There are special insurance plans for children. If you have a child under the age of 18, your child can get insurance at a very low cost. Even if you do not have insurance for your child, you can get examinations and immunization through special programs. By contacting public health or county health offices, you can get more information.

Healthy Families - Free or low-cost health insurance for children: (800) 880-5305

Insurance Problems

If you have a problem with your insurance company or HMO, you have certain rights. We have included a link to The California Patient's Guide which explains your rights to receive quality health care and what steps you can take if you have problems.

How to Get the Best Health Care

The following information was provided by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (

Be an Active Health Care Consumer
  1. Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns. Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers. Choose a doctor you feel comfortable talking to. Take a relative or friend with you to help you ask questions and understand the answers.
  2. Keep and bring a list of ALL the medicines you take. Give your doctor and pharmacist a list of all the medicines that you take, including non-prescription medicines. Tell them about any drug allergies you have. Ask about side effects and what to avoid while taking the medicine. Read the label when you get your medicine, including all warnings. Make sure your medicine is what the doctor ordered and know how to use it. Ask the pharmacist about your medicine if it looks different than you expected.
  3. Get the results of any test or procedure. Ask when and how you will get the results of tests or procedures. Don't assume the results are fine if you do not get them when expected, be it in person, by phone, or by mail. Call your doctor and ask for your results. Ask what the results mean for your care.
  4. Talk to your doctor about which hospital is best for your health needs. Ask your doctor about which hospital has the best care and results for your condition if you have more than one hospital to choose from. Be sure you understand the instructions you get about follow-up care when you leave the hospital.
  5. Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery. Make sure you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done during the operation. Ask your doctor, "Who will manage my care when I am in the hospital?" Ask your surgeon:
    • Exactly what will you be doing?
    • About how long will it take?
    • What will happen after the surgery?
    • How can I expect to feel during recovery?
Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses about any allergies, bad reaction to anesthesia, and any medications you are taking. 1) For more information about health care and your rights visit this Web site:

Check your Medicines:

1) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services American Hospital Association American Medical Association AHRQ P

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